Windows 7 in Europe to ship without IE

I just posted the article Windows 7 in Europe to ship without IE.

After numerous run ins with European regulators, Microsoft has decided to offer Windows 7 to European consumers without bundling Internet Explorer into the OS.

The “E” edition of Windows…

Read the full article here:  [](

Feel free to add your comments below. 

Please note that the reactions from the complete site will be synched below.

And how are we supposed to install Firefox on a fresh install now without the files on an USB stick or CD ?

European Commission is just a bunch of idiots.

It mentions in the text that the computer manufacturers will be the ones deciding with which browser they will sell their products. For me it is the same, again someone else will decide for me which one i will have pre-installed.

Actually, i can’t get this fuzz about it - i have no problem with any broswer being pre-installed as long as i can download the one i want and use it by default. I would appreciate being able to completely uninstall IE, but i can live with it “lost and forgotten” somewhere in the system too.

According to VP Dave Heiner, OEMs will be dealing with the problem so for new PCs it’s not an issue. Stores will probably just offer a free CD with all the popular browsers on it for retail Windows customers. For pirates it never was a problem. :smiley:

The European Commission, at least in this case, are very far from being a bunch of idiots. They didn’t tell MS to remove IE and that’s it. They told MS that the other browsers would have to have a chance to be chosen as alternatives to IE. The prefered EC solution is for the user to be offered a choice, asking him/her what browser(s) they want to have installed. The user would click on the one(s) they want and they would be installed. Pretty easy to do if MS doesn’t decide to complicate things, as they always try to do.

By the way, it also seems you didn’t read this paragraph on the article above:

“The European Commission, in fact, told Microsoft to package other Web browsers into Windows when it ships, though Microsoft obviously is appealing this decision.”

The “fuzz” is very simple: previously, when IE was not bundled with Windows, people would choose which browser they wanted to use and would install it. During those times, Netscape was, by far, the most used browser. Afterwards, MS started bundling IE with Windows 95. At the time it was still possible to remove it if one wished to. IE’s browser market share started increasing but not too much, Netscape was the uber dominant browser. OEMs were still allowed to install another browser and remove IE, if they wished.

Later on, with Windows 98, MS stopped it being possible to uninstall IE, saying that it was technically impossible, that part of the OS would stop working, etc, etc. Obviously a deliberate move to make it impossible to have a true choice on the marketplace. They even postponed the launch of Win 98 so that they could complete this total IE tie-in with Win 98.

What happened? With OEMs no longer allowed or able to remove IE, they didn’t bother anymore to install a separate browser. OEMs want as little complexity as possible (less support to give) and just went with IE. And OEM sales are over 90% of new OS sales…

How did the story end: IE quickly gained an enormous market share, above 90%. This went on for years until FF managed to make a dent on IE’s marketshare. But IE is still the dominant browser.

And why was it bad that IE became the dominant browser? Because it allowed MS to introduce non-standard Web technologies (ActiveX, anyone?), deliberately corrupt standard technologies, etc. The end result? Sites that would only work with IE, because they would be coded to cater to the deliberate quirks, inconsistencies, etc, that MS kept introducing. This is the reason why, up to this day, IE is mandatory in most companies, simply because they developed intranets which use proprietary MS Web technologies.

Yep i agree, i know my share of “history” but what i am saying is that the option to use whichever browser you want was there always - even with IE preinstalled. What now will happen is that instead of opening up IE one time to download FF, i will probably have to open up Opera or whatever to do the same.

For the users that dont really know the difference and dont even know the existence of other browsers other than IE, they will probably keep the one preinstalled as always - which will now be decided for them again by someone else - i dont think they care whether this is MS or HP or whoever.

just my 2c

That’s not what’s being proposed. What the EC is saying is that the best way will be for the user to be shown a list of web browsers and he/she will select the one(s) which should be installed. This is not the same as “will now be decided for them again by someone else”.

And the notion that there has to be a preinstalled browser for someone to be able to download another browser is simply desingenious. It’s very easy to develop a simple application that will show a list of web browsers and will download and install the one(s) one wishes to install. Correct?

Yep it should be easy and it would be the best choice but i dont know whether this will be the case. I suppose the most easy way will be to provide a cd with applications, that will include several browsers to select from. Again, that takes for granted that the end user knows what a browser is (most people i know just look for the “e” program under start to “open” the internet :stuck_out_tongue: )

Ridiculous, Microsoft should be able to sell their Operating System with everything in it as they would like to do. Lets say one day the EU says that MS is no longer allowed to offer the functionality of burning dvd / blu-ray because that’s unfair compitition to recording software manufactorers (e.g. Nero, Roxio). That would be outrageous right!!!:a

No, that’s not ridiculous. It looks like you don’t realise there are competition rules? Let me ask you one thing: do you think it is desirable or a good thing to have just one choice in every single product you see on the market? Cars, beverages, food, TVs, etc, etc, etc? No choice at all, just one model and brand for everything. Would it be a good thing?

Because most sensible people would answer “no”, that’s why there are competition laws. And the competition laws say, very sensibly, that companies cannot use their monopoly positions (MS Windows is considered a monopoly on PC operating systems) to “induce” consumers to use other products. Because this has the very obvious effect of destroying competition since it makes it very hard or almost impossible to compete against.

By the way, I read, many times, Americans saying that MS should just stick it to the EU and stop selling their products here. Ahah! Obviously MS knows better than that. They know that the EU market is a huge one. If they lost it it would impact tremendously their profits but, much worse than that, it would open the floodgates for competition to appear on the 2 products that constitute MS bread n’ butter: Windows and Office. If they face competition on these two, they are dead. If competition developed in the EU region it would soon spread to the rest of the world and it would be the end for MS. Really.

So, they make everything they are allowed to, and are not allowed to, to preserve their monopoly on these 2 products. Until they are able to do it, they’re safe. When this is no longer possible, MS will be just another software company like the rest and will have to survive on the merits. And that will be a much more difficult proposition for them…

And, speaking about recording software, you’ll notice that Windows burning functions are very limited, practically the same as saving data to a USB pen. If they developed a fully featured burning package you can be sure that Nero, Roxio, etc, would intervene and ask it to be removed. And they would probably win.

This reminds of when the EU forced farmers and fruit growers to grow straight cucumbers and bananas, all at European tax payers expense.
Now, no doubt, they have spent European tax payers money again to force MS to remove IE from W7.
Give me strenght. :doh:


I rarely post although I think you’re dead wrong on this one. MS has done some questionable things in the past, but this issue is a bit different. If MS wants to include IE, who cares? You aren’t forced to use it by the OS. I don’t disagree that it should be completely uninstallable.

There’s no reason why MS should have to cater to its competition. Why should they have to include alternate browsers for the OS? These programs are publically accessible for free by anyone with an internet connection. It’s like saying that Porshe should be required to have the options on the car provided by Mercedes Benz or Ferrari for the sake of fairness.

So linux should be forced to include IE as a possible browser? Have you thought this through?

johnzap said, “…do you think it is desirable or a good thing to have just one choice in every single product you see on the market? Cars, beverages, food, TVs, etc, etc, etc? No choice at all, just one model and brand for everything. Would it be a good thing?”

Actually it’s more like the government telling the automobile manufacturers what brand of radio they can install in their cars at the factory. (Oops…they’re probably already going to do that here in the US with Government Motors and Congressional Motors.)

Just another case of companies abusing the EU’s antitrust laws. If Opera put as much effort into making a decent browser as they did whining to the EC, they might actually be able to compete with IE and increase their market share.

to me it would be like , for every case of coke sold there would have to be 3 cans of pepsi in it…just wrong…just because it’s preinstall doesn’t mean you have to use it

I find that this IS ridiculous mr. johnzap !

These aren’t even commercial softwares !
They are telling MS they can’t put their free browser in Windows because other free browsers don’t get the same treatment ? What a bunch of BS. Sorry but I believe in MS’s freedom to bundle whatever they want with their O/S.
Why stop with MS with IE ?
Why not go after Apple for bundling iTunes ?

Why is Europe the only place in the world this is an issue ?

You guys/gals are so funny. Do you happen to know that MS was -actually- found guilty of violating antitrust laws, exactly in the US? And the reason was exactly the tie-in of IE with Windows? At the time the situation was so serious that there were even talks of splitting MS up, etc. Then, suddenly, Bush came into power, the Justice Department was changed, apparently filled with MS friends, and it all went to nothing. Just a slight slap in the wrist. Thus, a convicted fellon came out unscathed.

Since this US procedure took quite a long time, there’s reason to say that the US gov spent millions, ultimately for nothing. Not the same with the EC. MS has already been fined in excess of 1 billion Euros, for previous wrongdoings in other areas. So, you can rest assured that MS has already paid considerably to the European coffers. This browser tie-in thingy is on its initial stages so, for those worried with the EC spending money, I’m sure they can take a little bit from the funds MS already contributed.

As for the assertions that MS should be forced to do this and not forced not to do that, people, the rules which apply to the common companies don’t apply to companies when they are monopolies. Is that so hard to understand? There are clear laws which state that a monopoly cannot use its monopoly position to leverage its other products. You might argue that, then, those laws are wrong, etc, something I strongly disagree with. But the laws are these and MS is, allegedly, performing unlawful activities. If you break the law you are punished. That’s as simple as that.

I also see that most of you probably don’t know in detail the story of IE’s tie-in with Windows. The dirty tactics that were employed. The harm it caused to competition, to the Web and, therefore, to the consumer. For example, most virus/trojans, etc, were shoved down people’s throats because, by illegally tieing-in IE with Windows and introducing piss poor technologies like ActiveX. After starting with a meagre market share, IE jumped to a monopoly position, acquiring well over 90% of the market. Therefore, apart from other unfortunate situations, what happened? MS simply stopped development of IE, which was stuck with IE 6 for a very long time. IE’s development team was disbanded and they just kept releasing bugfixes for years and years and years. See what a monopoly does to innovation? It just kills it. If you think this is good for you, great, even if I pity your judgement.

Oh yes… lets beat that dead horse. The evil MS and all the mistakes they’ve made. While we’re at it, lets rant about Vista and how bad it is too.

Microsoft has done a lot to make the EC happy. They’ve removed Media Player and now IE from their operating systems. Bundling their competitors browsers just because they’re a bunch of whiney bitches… that’s a bit much.

I think Microsoft should be allowed to bundle their internet browser with Windows 7. However, I also think Firefox should come pre-installed. When Windows 7 is started for the first time the user should be given a choice of which browser he/she wants as a default (which can be changed later if desired). Simple.

Then again, I also think Sony executives should be taken out into the street and shot. Sigh, I really wish the voices in my head would SHUT UP.